Office Balcony Sunset
I recently made a difficult decision regarding my job, which triggered feelings of uncertainty, fear, and self-doubt. In the process of contemplating my decision, I recalled one of my patients, a college student who struggled with depression. Despite going to a prestigious university, his overwhelming fear of not getting accepted into law school further exacerbated his depressive symptoms. I responded with seemingly consoling statements such as “you’re still young…you’ll get there…you have a lot going for you…I went through the same situation and it worked out okay.” However, my attempts to reassure really weren’t reassuring at all (it’s well known in psychiatry that reassurance generally doesn’t reassure mostly because the statements fail to validate the patient’s current experience). Reflecting back, I realized that in the moment I didn’t want to relive my own pain, uncertainty, and fears that I experienced in my process of applying to medical school. I recalled the discouragement I felt with each rejection letter I received. And I was still feeling discouraged at my current job. Since I gained insight from connecting his experience with my own, I looked forward to validating his feelings at his next appointment. Unfortunately, he cancelled his appointment and never returned.
The dangers of life are infinite, and among them are safety. ~ Goethe
“…I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short, what better way is there to live?”
I made the right decision.
“…you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”~Jim Carrey